TIME Magazine Names New York Stem Cell Foundation Research #1 Medical Breakthrough of 2011

Press Release

Discovery Hailed As Step Toward Patient-Specific Treatments for Diabetes, Other Degenerative Diseases 

NEW YORK, NY (December 9, 2011) – TIME magazine has designated research conducted in the laboratory of the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) as the #1 Medical Breakthrough of the year.

TIME cited research led by NYSCF scientists Dieter Egli and Scott Noggle in which adult skin cells from patients with Type 1 diabetes were reprogrammed to the pluripotent state by combining the cells with unfertilized donor oocytes. The scientists then succeeded in differentiating the pluripotent cells into other cell types in the body, including insulin-producing beta cells that are lacking in persons with Type 1 diabetes.

The discovery has implications for treatments of many other diseases besides diabetes, since the cells Egli and Noggle created  contain the patient’s own DNA and would resist rejection by the patient’s immune system if transplanted as part of cell replacement therapy. NYSCF scientists are currently conducting further research needed to overcome a remaining obstacle before the cells can be considered for treatment purposes.

In the magazine’s online article, TIME health and medical writer Alice Park writes: “The process is promising because it can potentially yield stem cells – which may one day treat diseases such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s – that not only match their donor, but also obviate the need for an embryo.”

“We are thrilled that TIME has recognized the significance of this research and its potential to bring better treatments and possibly even cures in the future to thousands of patients suffering from devastating diseases and injuries,” said NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon.

Egli and Noggle’s discovery was first reported in early October in the scientific journal Nature, and subsequently reported by TIME in its October 5 issue. The NYSCF discovery was also covered in The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, and NPR, as well as numerous other media outlets around the world.

The work of the Egli-Noggle team is the third NYSCF-related research to be cited by TIME since the NYSCF Laboratory was established in 2005. In 2010 NYSCF-Robertson Investigator Dr. Derrick Rossi was named one of Time’s People Who Mattered for his work in regenerative medicine. In 2008 TIME named NYSCF-supported research on ALS conducted by Dr. Kevin Eggan as the year’s Top Medical Breakthrough.

The most recent designation is included in TIME’s year- end “The Top 10 of Everything of 2011” survey of significant people and events. Read the TIME story

Read NYSCF’s original press release

TIME’s list included another step forward in regenerative medicine. A study at Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in transplanting lab-grown urethras in patients was hailed as the #6 breakthrough of the year. Other advances mentioned as notable on the TIME list included a clinical trial of a malaria vaccine, discoveries in HIV transmission prevention, and the discovery of a potential link between bacteria and colon cancer.

Read the full press release here

Diseases & Conditions:

Diabetes, Parkinson's Disease

People mentioned: